From the Executive Director

From the Executive Director features news and reflections on the work of PHMC by its chief administrator.

In the long history of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission many knowledgeable historians, curators, archivists and writers have contributed to our greater understanding of Pennsylvania’s rich and diverse history and natural history. Few have brought to the task a greater breadth of knowledge about Pennsylvania than Michael J. O’Malley III, who served as the editor of Pennsylvania Heritage for 30 years and recently retired.

Michael came to PHMC in the summer of 1977 as a student aide. In June 1978 he joined the staff as an information writer. He was named assistant editor of Pennsylvania Heritage in 1983 and was promoted to editor in 1984. Michael transformed Pennsylvania Heritage from an agency bulletin to the award-winning publication we recognize today.

Throughout those years he worked with numerous authors to chronicle the many people, places and events that have shaped the history of the Commonwealth. He also added his thoughtful, grammatically correct style to countless articles, press releases, brochures, annual reports, books, web content and more. For many years he served as the institutional memory of PHMC, having become known as the “go-to guy” for agency history. We all appreciated his willingness to share colorful stories of the many people who have passed through PHMC as employees, commissioners and friends. He is a classic gentleman-scholar, much respected throughout the Commonwealth’s history community. All of us at PHMC wish him great happiness in his well-earned retirement.

Michael set a high standard for Pennsylvania Heritage, and I am very pleased to report that we have found the perfect editor to take the magazine to the next level. Kyle R. Weaver joined the PHMC staff in May as our new editor. Kyle is a lifetime resident of Pennsylvania. He has written extensively on Pennsylvania history and has worked with PHMC on numerous projects over the past few decades.

Kyle holds a B.A. in Communications and an M.A. in American Studies, both from Penn State. For 19 years he was an editor with Stackpole Books, where he acquired and published nearly 300 titles in a variety of nonfiction subjects, including more than 100 Pennsylvania-related books for a line that received a Barnes & Noble Award for Best Publisher of Pennsylvania Literature. He created and served as series editor for the Pennsylvania Trail of History Guides, a series of 23 guidebooks on PHMC’s historic sites and museums. He has written several articles for Pennsylvania Heritage in the past and was the revising author of the second edition of Diners of Pennsylvania.

This issue marks the editorial transition from Michael to Kyle and we are delighted that the handoff has been so smooth. I expect that we will note some changes and new additions in future issues, and I am confident that under Kyle’s leadership Pennsylvania Heritage will continue to be an esteemed publication of the highest quality. Kyle, we are delighted that you are now part of the PHMC team.

James M. Vaughan
Executive Director, PHMC